Syria: Some bishops dread the rise of Islamism

Source: FSSPX News

In Syria, several bishops are publicly supporting President Bachar el-Assad.  The Archbishop of Damascus, Abp. Gregoire Elias Tabé, and the Chaldean Archbishop of Alep, Abp. Antoine Audo, have particularly criticized foreign reporting on the troubles in the country.  Thus Abp. Tabé declared to the Italian Catholic news agency SIR:  “We want an evolution and not a revolution.”  The Archbishop does not conceal the fact that he fears negative consequences for Christians in the event of dramatic changes.  “Presently we are witnessing a major international game against Syria,” since, according to him, “the violence is predominantly the result of terrorists who have infiltrated from abroad.”  For Abp. Tabé, there is no doubt that “the majority of the population is behind Assad.”

As for Abp. Audo, a Jesuit, when asked by magazine of the English-speaking branch of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), he warned about potential problems like those of Iraq after the American invasion, if Bachar el-Assad is overthrown.  “We do not want to become like Iraq.  We do not want the insecurity, nor the Islamization, nor the danger caused by an Islamic takeover.  Syria must defend itself against attempts at destabilization,” the bishop of Alep added.  “The fanatics talk about liberty and democracy for Syria, but that is not their goal.  They are trying to divide the Arab nations, to control them and sell them arms,” he also warned, while assuring the interviewer that “Syria will defend itself.  Eighty percent of the population, in particular the Christians, are behind the government.”  Abp. Audo denounces a “war of [dis]information against Syria.  The international reports are not objective.  We must defend the truth, both as Syrians and as Christians.”  (Sources: apic/kap/aed – DICI no. 237 dated June 25, 2011)